Gov. Edwards: State-Led Program To Offer COVID-19 Small Business Help

Firms of fewer than 100 employees will be able to borrow up to $100,000 at below-market interest rates

BATON ROUGE, La. — Today, Gov. John Bel Edwards announced a new Louisiana Loan Portfolio Guaranty Program, which will offer loans of up to $100,000 to Louisiana small businesses of fewer than 100 employees that are impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. To help Main Street and rural businesses sustain operations, the loans will require no payments for 180 days and carry below-market interest rates of no more than 3.5 percent.

The Loan Portfolio Guaranty Program, or LPGP, is a partnership of Louisiana Economic Development, which will provide a loan guaranty fund; the Louisiana Bankers Association, whose membership will provide the loans; and the Louisiana Public Facilities Authority, which will administer the program. A total loan pool of $50 million will be quickly disbursed to eligible small businesses across Louisiana.

“Time and again, Louisianans have demonstrated the desire and commitment to help their neighbors in times of crisis,” Gov. Edwards said. “The Loan Portfolio Guaranty Program is another great example of that service. So far, we have commitments from more than 30 banks across Louisiana who have agreed to participate in this program. We believe it will be instrumental in helping our small businesses recover from the COVID-19 crisis.”

The Louisiana loan program partners — LED, LBA and LPFA — envision helping small businesses meet critical needs for operating their firms during and beyond the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The beauty of this program is we are not competing with the essential financial products offered by the U.S. Small Business Administration — we are complementing SBA,” LED Secretary Don Pierson said. “Our bankers know their customers well. They have confidence in the LPFA to administer this program in a professional, proactive manner; and they have the further confidence of an LED loan guaranty fund that will enhance the security of these loans.”

LPGP loans will provide up to $100,000 in immediate financing to help small firms impacted by COVID-19 meet their payroll, retain employees, pay their rent and mortgages, and keep their lights on and their doors open. Interested businesses may find loan details at OpportunityLouisiana.com/covid19, and a list of participating bankers will be posted at the site by Friday as banks complete their participation agreements.

“Louisiana banks play an important role in economic activity, and continue to do so during disaster recovery,” said Louisiana Bankers Association CEO Robert Taylor. “The work Louisiana Economic Development and the Louisiana Public Facilities Authority have done on this loan guaranty program for small businesses is great. We appreciate the opportunity to get the program details out to all the bankers in the state. The can-do spirit of everyone involved has been very positive.”

“The LPFA has an extensive history of assisting the State of Louisiana in some of its most challenging times,” said President and CEO James W. Parks II of the Louisiana Public Facilities Authority. “I am pleased that LPFA’s experience and capacity has allowed us to quickly bring this program forward. Access to funding for Louisiana businesses is a priority, and by working with our Louisiana banking community we can make loan decisions here in Louisiana. This state guaranty program will leverage available funds and enhance eligibility.”

Through the program, bankers will have the flexibility to extend loan terms for up to five years, while interest rates will be below conventional commercial lending rates and no higher than 3.5 percent. To date, participating banks have requested allocations for about two-thirds of the $50 million in loan capacity available through LPGP.

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TCA’s Horses First Fund Supports Backstretch and Aftercare Organizations Amid Pandemic

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Thoroughbred Charities of America’s Horses First Fund is providing funding to backstretch and aftercare organizations working to support the Thoroughbred community amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Established in 2016 by LNJ Foxwoods, the Horses First Fund assists Thoroughbreds and their caretakers in need of emergency aid due to large scale neglect, natural disaster, or other catastrophe.

The Backstretch Employee Service Team (BEST) will receive funding to support their on-site medical clinic at Belmont Park. The Sam Houston Race Park Chaplaincy will receive an emergency grant to provide meal services for backstretch workers at the now closed racetrack. The Horses First Fund will also provide grants to several aftercare organizations throughout the U.S. that have taken in additional Thoroughbreds due to the pandemic or have additional needs. It is expected that more funding will be distributed as further emergency needs are identified. Thoroughbred industry related nonprofit organizations interested in applying for an emergency grant may contact Erin Crady at ecrady@tca.org.

TCA has worked to stay in touch with its grantees throughout this uncertain time. One concern, echoed by numerous grantees, is for the loss of revenue due to cancelled fundraisers and events. TCA is working to create a free webinar that will offer suggestions on how to create virtual events and tips for digital fundraising.  Further details about the webinar will be released as they become available.

Emergency grants from the Horses First Fund are only possible because of the support of our generous donors. To join us in our efforts to assist Thoroughbreds and backstretch workers in need of emergency aid please consider a donation to the Horses First Fund. To donate, please visit tca.org.

Thoroughbred Charities of America (TCA) was formed in 1990 to raise and distribute funds to charities in the Thoroughbred industry that provide a better life for Thoroughbreds, both during and after their racing careers, by supporting qualified repurposing and retirement organizations and by helping the people who care for them. In 2019, TCA granted nearly $475,000 to 64 charities working within Thoroughbred retraining, rehoming and retirement; backstretch and farm worker services, research and equine-assisted therapy. Over the last 30 years, TCA has granted over $23 million to more than 200 charities that successfully meet the criteria set forth in its annual grant application. TCA also administers the Horses First Fund, founded by LNJ Foxwoods in 2016, to assist Thoroughbreds in need of emergency aid. TCA is the charitable arm of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association (TOBA).

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Donations to The Jockey Club Safety Net Foundation to go to COVID-19 Relief

The Jockey Club Safety Net Foundation is calling for donations to assist backstretch workers affected by the COVID-19 outbreak across the United States. All donations to the foundation will be designated for COVID-19 relief until further notice.

The foundation’s current priority is addressing the immediate need to stock food pantries at racetracks around the country, and it is coordinating with the Race Track Chaplaincy of America in this effort.

Those who would like to contribute should visit tjcfoundation.org/donate. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, checks cannot be accepted at this time. All donations are tax-deductible.

“The Jockey Club Safety Net Foundation works with chaplaincies and horsemen’s groups across the nation on a daily basis to help the men and women who care for our equine athletes and are the backbone of our industry,” said Shannon Kelly, executive director for the foundation. “With many racetracks currently closed for live racing and instituting strict quarantine procedures due to the pandemic, backstretch families face significant financial strain, and the foundation is poised to utilize its resources to help those in need.”

The Jockey Club Safety Net Foundation is a charitable trust that provides, on a confidential basis, financial relief and assistance to needy members of the Thoroughbred industry and their families. Recipients of the Safety Net Foundation’s support represent virtually every facet of the Thoroughbred industry, from jockeys, trainers, exercise riders and grooms to office personnel and other employees of racetracks, racing organizations, and breeding farms. Assistance can come in any number of forms, including financial aid, medication, surgical and hospital costs, therapeutic equipment, voice-recognition computers for quadriplegics, and wheelchair-accessible vans. Since 1985, The Jockey Club Safety Net Foundation has provided more than $16 million in assistance.

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COVID-19: Maintaining Breeding Shed Activity

The challenges of the global COVID-19 pandemic have led to new protocols for Thoroughbred breeding to minimize risk of infection among farm staff and related personnel charged with transporting and handling horses.

The Jockey Club recommends that all North American, Central American, and Caribbean Thoroughbred stud farm operations at a minimum follow guidelines from the Kentucky Department of Ag Guidelines for COVID-19: Breeding Shed Activity issued by E.S. “Rusty” Ford from the Office of the State Veterinarian, Kentucky Department of Agriculture.

With vans and individuals visiting multiple facilities each day during the breeding season, it is important to adopt standard practices in how people and horses visiting sheds are managed. The essential elements enumerated in the guidelines are reproduced below with permission from the Kentucky Department of Agriculture:

KENTUCKY DEPARTMENT OF AG GUIDELINES FOR
COVID-19: BREEDING SHED ACTIVITY
 
BREEDING SHED ACTIVITY:  With vans and individuals visiting multiple facilities each day we do recommend adopting standard practices in how we manage people and horses visiting sheds.
 
1.     Submission of documentation for mares booked to be bred would best be done electronically. We’ve seen numerous reports where handled paper can be contaminated.
 
2.     Eliminate outside individuals (van drivers and mare attendants) from coming into the prep area and shed.  To accomplish this, the van would arrive, the mare would be offloaded and handed off to a shed employee (using the shed’s shank) who would handle the mare through the process.  The van driver and anyone accompanying the mare to the shed should remain outside in the parking area while maintaining social distance with other individuals.
 
3.     After cover, the mare would be returned to the loading area and handed off to the attendant for loading onto the van.  If there is need for a mare’s attendant to witness the cover, this should be accomplished from outside – looking in, videotaped or virtually.
 
4.     The shank would be cleaned before returning to the shed or reuse and attendant would wash hands [recommended addition by The Jockey Club: or preferably disinfected with acceptable products efficacious in preventing the spread of viral or bacterial agents and the use of disposable gloves by attendants are recommended where practicable].
 
5.     Breeding equipment (leg straps, collars, boots etc.) would be cleaned before reuse [recommended addition by The Jockey Club: or preferably disinfected with acceptable products efficacious in preventing the spread of viral or bacterial agents and the use of disposable gloves by attendants are recommended where practicable].
 
6.     Additionally, maintaining enhanced biosecurity in our daily activity is essential to all of these mitigations.
 
Implementing these practices, and any other action you can take to eliminate people from congregating in common areas will be beneficial and could be critical in our ability to continue transporting horses to/from sheds.

 
For information on COVID-19 in the United States, please visit the Center for Disease Control.

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Texas 2-Year-Old Sale Cancelled, Consignments to be Promoted Online

(March 23, 2020 – Austin, Texas) — The Texas Thoroughbred Association and Lone Star Park have announced that the Texas 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale scheduled for April 3 has been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. All entry fees for the sale will be refunded.

 

It was also announced that all horses currently nominated to the Texas Thoroughbred Futurity at Lone Star Park will remain eligible provided the final payment of $350 is made. All horses entered in the 2-year-old sale will be considered to have passed through the sales ring for the purposes of eligibility for the race. Additionally, the April 15 due date for the final payment has been pushed back to May 15. The Texas Thoroughbred Futurity, with a fillies and colts/geldings division for a $100,000-estimated purse apiece, is scheduled for July 12 at Lone Star. The TTA and Lone Star will make a future announcement should a date change be needed.

 

“We are obviously disappointed to cancel this sale, especially with a record number of consignments, but it’s really the only option at this point and postponing the sale simply was not feasible,” said Mary Ruyle, executive director of the Texas Thoroughbred Association. “We are leaving the sale catalogue online and making some enhancements so that potential buyers can view photos and videos submitted by consignors and make contact to negotiate private sales.”

 

In the coming weeks, the TTA will accept photos and videos from consignors to be added to the sale website at www.ttasales.com. The online repository will also be opened to help consignors market their horses. Each consignor’s contact information will be listed so that buyers can make direct contact about a private sale. The TTA will not track or collect commissions on any private sales.

 

“We feel this was probably the best group of horses to be catalogued to this sale in over a decade, so we encourage potential buyers to view the horses being offered,” said Tim Boyce, sales director. “We truly appreciate all the support from consignors, so we are working to make the best of this situation and help buyers and sellers get connected.”

 

The Texas Summer Yearling Sale is set for August 24 at Lone Star and will also include a horses of racing age session.

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FAIR GROUNDS RACE COURSE TO SUSPEND RACING EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY

NEW ORLEANS, LA (March 21, 2020) – In accordance with the “stay-home” order issued by New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell, following public health concerns in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic, Fair Grounds Race Course will suspend live racing operations effective immediately. The Fair Grounds Thoroughbred Racing Season was originally scheduled to run through March 29.

 

Fair Grounds Race Course remains focused on the safety of members of the backside community who are vital to ensuring the care of the horses. In compliance with the Louisiana Racing Commission’s emergency order, we are committed to facilitating their safe and customary movement to tracks outside of New Orleans.

 

Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots is dedicated to doing our part to help fight this public health crisis. We regret any inconvenience this announcement may have caused our rans fans and will continue to coordinate closely with federal, state and local authorities to minimize exposure risk for those on our property.

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Effective Immediately: LTBA Office Delays Open Time Until 10:00 a.m.

Effective Immediately
LTBA Office Delays Open Time Until 10:00 a.m.

The Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association realizes that for many of our members, a breeders awards check is crucial to their livelihoods. Even in the face of the coronavirus, our staff is committed to the business of making sure our breeders receive what they have earned through our program.

However, for the health and safety of our employees as well as that of horsemen and all backside workers, the Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association has elected to delay opening our office at Fair Grounds Racetrack until 10:00 a.m. to reduce the chances for contact.  At the present time, we intend to remain open until 4:00 p.m. As soon as possible, we intend to return to normal office hours.

We do request that any persons with LTBA business, contact us via telephone (504) 947-4676 or by email <Roger@louisianabred.com>. If you have pressing business that must be handled in person, we will have a skeleton crew working in our office. The majority of our business can be handled by phone or over the internet. Our staff is working on a rotating basis, so if we do not answer your call, please leave a message so that we can return your call. We ask for your patience if we take a little longer than usual to respond as we try to navigate through these un-precedented times.

We thank you for your patience as we sort through the day-to-day updates and how this is affecting your business.

More resources here: http://ldh.la.gov/Coronavirus/

Everyone is warned to take the necessary precautions to help limit the spread of COVID-19 and stay safe and healthy.
These precautions include:
1.     Washing your hands for at least 20 seconds and frequently
2.     Covering your cough or sneeze with your arm
3.     Avoiding touching your face
4.     Routinely cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces
5.     Avoiding close contact with others – social distancing
6.     And staying home if you are sick
For more information about Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association visit louisianabred.com or call (504) 947-4676.
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LTBA COVID-19 UPDATE

We understand that our members continue to feel the impact of the COVID-19 developments. Please know during this challenging time, we will continue to provide service and support.

Currently, our staff is still working in the office at New Orleans Fair Grounds. However, for the protection of our staff, our doors are locked. If you have no immediate business with the LTBA, please just call. The majority of our business can be handled by phone or over the internet.

We thank you for your patience as we sort through the day-to-day updates and how this is affecting your business.

More resources here: http://ldh.la.gov/Coronavirus/

Everyone is warned to take the necessary precautions to help limit the spread of COVID-19 and stay safe and healthy.
These precautions include:
1.     Washing your hands for at least 20 seconds and frequently
2.     Covering your cough or sneeze with your arm
3.     Avoiding touching your face
4.     Routinely cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces
5.     Avoiding close contact with others – social distancing
6.     And staying home if you are sick
For more information about Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association visit louisianabred.com or call (504) 947-4676.
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What’s Going On Here: Keep Calm and Bet to Win

Commentary from BloodHorse Magazine

 

 

COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, is for real. So, for a minute, let’s deal with it.

Local and state governments are trying their best to “flatten the curve” by stopping all gatherings of more than a few hundred people. The president just declared a national emergency. That means all major, and most minor, sporting events have been canceled for the foreseeable future—with the exception of spectator-less Thoroughbred racing. We get that.

What we don’t get is the panic across the country that seems to be gaining traction. By now, most everyone understands that toilet paper is currently one the most precious commodities on the planet. Who knew? Now, “dry goods” such as pastas, breads, and rice are flying off the shelves here in the Bluegrass, and there are plenty of videos online of long lines at grocery stores in much larger municipalities than Lexington.

Read BloodHorse Article

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Fair Grounds Race Course to Run Races Spectator-Free Effective Immediately

Louisiana Derby to Run as Scheduled on March 21

NEW ORLEANS, LA., (March 13, 2020) Churchill Downs Incorporated (“CDI”) (Nasdaq: CHDN) announced today amid public health concerns regarding COVID-19, all live races beginning immediately through the remainder of the racing meet ending March 29 will be conducted spectator-free with only essential staff, credentialed horsemen and media in attendance. The Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds Race Course will run as scheduled on Saturday, March 21 under the same spectator restrictions. Pari-mutuel wagering will also be closed to the public at Fair Grounds through the remainder of the meet. The on-site slot facility and off-site OTB and video poker operations will remain open to patrons as usual.

The safety and health of guests, employees and participants remain of primary concern and the team at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots will continue to take every precaution to ensure the comfort and safety of those in attendance. We continue to work very closely with Governor Edwards and Lieutenant Governor Nungesser, Mayor Cantrell and the Louisiana Racing Commission in order to comply with all public health orders regarding COVID-19 and make the most responsible decision for everyone involved.

Preparations to host Kentucky Derby 146 on the first Saturday in May at Churchill Downs are currently still moving forward. With the event still seven weeks away, a decision will be made closer to that date, with respect to postponing the event until later in the year, using the most recent information while working with and seeking guidance from public health experts and authorities.

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